Carolin Brehm

Born in 1993; from Bekond, Germany; participated many years in the Schoenstatt girl’s youth; studied theology ans is now making a training as pastoral assistant; married since 2018; has a daughter (Emilia, born in 2020); belongs to the Schoenstatt families‘ movement with her husband Tobias.

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

A number of experiences have formed me as a woman. The Schoenstatt Youth had a very central influence. So many weekends, vacation weeks, and later all the meetings for the leaders up to the Schwarzhorn have shaped my time and my life in a special way. Through the Schoenstatt Youth my life has gained depth and I was allowed to discover, get to know and experience myself more and more personally: “I am good just as I am,” “I am a royal child of God”. The community only among girls was especially encouraging for me, allowing me to come out of myself naturally and freely, to grow and mature inwardly. My best and closest friendships have developed from the time of my work in the Youth to this day, with very original and unique personalities.

Where have you experienced God in your life?

These special friendships that Schoenstatt has brought forth also reflect my life of faith. Mary has become a good friend to me over the years. I can have a wonderful conversation with her, so to speak, from “woman to woman.” I think she understands me and I understand her. She knows what challenges women have to deal with. In recent months she has become an even more important friend and contact person for me, because the greatest miracle that has shaped me most in my life as a woman has taken place: My husband and I have had a little baby. It was an unbelievably wonderful experience to be pregnant, to feel the little growing human being in my womb and to know that through this life our previous life is completely turned upside down and that God gives us such a wonderful gift. During the pregnancy I was often afraid for our unborn child. I had some complications – in retrospect I can say that it was nothing really bad – but still I was insecure and helpless. During that time, I prayed a lot and felt that God was present. He walked the path with us. But the relationship with Mary became especially strong during this time, because after all she had given birth to a child. She understood what this meant and what challenges one has to struggle with as a pregnant woman and especially as a young mother. So Mary is still a good contact person for me today. How often I am helpless and simply do not know exactly what little Emilia needs. I am unsure whether I am acting correctly and whether I am there enough for her. But every evening my husband and I pray together with Emilia and we entrust her in a special way to Mary, the Mother of God. We ask her to be a mother for Emilia, especially in those moments when we cannot be there.
All the experiences around the miracle of our little daughter have made me recognize God and his greatness in a new and more intense way.

What do you see as the challenge for women today?

When I look at my immediate environment, I quickly realize that today’s woman faces many challenges. Especially now, as a mother, I have become aware of this in a new way. The gift of being a mother also means a lot of renunciation and one does not always meet with understanding. Very often during my pregnancy I was told that I was actually still too young to become a mother. Things like gaining experience in life, being successful in my job, buying a house first, etc, are just a few of the arguments that illustrate that it is not always easy to be a woman. Once the child is born, then you have to decide if and how long you want to stay at home with the child. If you stay at home, you have to live with less money, and I have often been looked down on because I stay at home and do not work. My feeling is that the woman of today is expected to have children, to raise them, but at the same time to have a full-time job or at least a part-time job, and if possible immediately after the birth.

I am in contact with many young mothers who are in the same situation as I am. The topic of having a baby and a job is a particularly big one and presents an incredible challenge. Women of today are expected to be “multifunctional instruments” in society. It is difficult for me to break away from this every now and then and to make clear to myself what I have learned in the Schoenstatt Youth: “I am good just the way I am.”  And I hope, above all, that I am a good mother. This does not mean that I do not want to work. But for my husband and me it is clear that we both want to be there for Emilia, and if I work again sometime, maybe just part-time, then he will be with our little miracle. That is a special challenge for us as a family.

Perhaps this is the true emancipation for women today, to free themselves from these many and sometimes conflicting demands and expectations. I want to become secure in the decision to stay at home and take care of our little miracle, just as other women with other charisms have to become secure in putting their desire for a career above the desire for children. It is a challenge to be confident in not wanting to, being able to and having to meet all the demands that are placed upon us.

What do you want to change in this world through your life?

Well… the question what I want to change through my life in this world is a very big one. A lot! Is my spontaneous answer. When I think about it, the question quickly arises: What can I change with my life at all? It won’t be much. But on a small scale I try to shape the world every day and change it for the better. On the one hand, I want to give everything for Emilia, so that she becomes a happy and satisfied person who can build her life on God and on this foundation, also change the world. I think that the best I can give to the world is just to be there for my child and later for my children, to comfort them when they have fallen and to take them in my arms to show them my love. It is very little, but I am sure that through every happy and satisfied person the world becomes a little bit brighter. This is exactly where God has given me and other women special abilities: I often have a good and attentive intuition of how people around me are doing and what they are going through. People quickly tell me about their problems and what is bothering them. This womanly ability to intuitively perceive what moves others around her can also help to give comfort and confidence to people. They feel at ease with their problems and worries. Through this ability, I hope to make the world a little bit better.

I am also committed to the bewegenswert association. Through this organization, we want to collect donations so that children in India can also dream of a better life and can realize it. We support a children’s village there and a health station in Africa. Here too I can only make small contributions, and yet I hope that through the contacts made in the different parts of the world, through the growing understanding and commitment for each other, the world will also become a little better. Through mutual understanding and friendship, the world becomes more peaceful. And this is what I hope to achieve in the end through my life: A more peaceful world on a small scale (in the circle of my family and friends) and yes, I dare to think boldly, thereby also on a large scale!